By Lois Fischer
Do you think that all peonies need full sun? Think again! Paeonia japonica (aka Woodland Peony) is a strikingly elegant herbaceous peony that is easily grown in rich, fertile, moderately moist soils in part shade. Its single white blooms with yellow stamens are a sight to behold in late April early May. A native to certain islands in northern Japan, the woodland peony grows to a height and width of 18 inches and will flower for seven to ten days. After the fragrant flowers fade, the plant produces very lovely seed pods that split open when ripe (usually late summer) revealing blue seeds on red stems. The handsome foliage remains attractive almost until frost. Three or four years ago on a whim, I purchased one pot of Paeonia japonica from a catalog and planted it in a spot in my garden that receives two to three hours of morning sun. I have subsequently divided it at least twice and am now enjoying it in several locations. If you decide that this is a plant for you, check out Peony's Envy Flower Farm web site (www.peonysenvy.com).